Right now the only thing we know about the people who can spread the virus that causes COVID19 is that there are lots of them and that they are not showing symptoms. We do not and can not know who we can interact with without risk of becoming infected. While the disease may or may not be bad, the really, really bad thing is that you will not know you are sick for ten or twelve days. During that time, you will be infecting the people with whom you interact and they will infect others.
The only way to avoid infection is to avoid associating with others who are infected.
‘Social distancing’ is the practice of absolutely minimizing your interaction with everyone and doing highly disciplined things to avoid interacting with infected people. Presently that means everyone because there is no way to tell who is will not infect you. and, importantly, you don’t have any idea if are infecting your friends and family. You definitely might be sick but not showing symptoms.
How can you tell when you will not infect others? Do ‘social distancing’ for two weeks. If you haven’t shown symptoms by then, you are not sick. That is, you know if you haven’t gotten infected during those two weeks. But, if you practice careful social distancing, you will not have been in a position to become infected and then you can be confident that you did not get infected during that two weeks and are not infected at the moment.
If you have a friend who has been doing the same thing, ie, not going to bars or crowded places, keeping a six foot permitter at the grocery store and work, washing hands like it’s a job, and otherwise doing everything they can to avoid exposure, then at the end of two weeks, you will also know that they are not infected. That’s good news because it means that they can become part of your ‘social distance’ club and you can hang with them.
What ‘social distancing’ does is provide a signal, a way to know who is safe and who is sick. If you have a couple of friends that you trust to me smart enough and reliable enough to execute ‘social distancing’, then you can socialize more normally. That means you can live life more normally while still keeping some discipline to avoid getting sick.
It also means that we are starting to organize the spread of the disease. If we don't do it now, we may not be able to do it ever without draconian policies that require real sacrifice (and for Americans, that means never). In a couple of weeks of not doing 'social distancing', infected people will be everywhere.
To avoid them will require literally staying in your house like they had to do in China. That wasn't some totalitarian ploy. It took the new cases rate from 4000 a day to essential zero. That would be horrilbe but we might not need to if we start doing 'social distancing' today, this minute.
Equally importantly, you will not have added to the overall societal burden of sick people. That means you will have helped ‘flatten the curve’, that curve of doom where we have a huge spike of sickness that overwhelms hospitals and medical personnel and, as a consequence, will vastly increase the number of people who die. It also means that your grandmother or father or some other at-risk person is less likely to run into someone who is infected.
Below is a link that explains how to accomplish ‘social distancing’. It basically comes down to, for the next couple of weeks, STAY HOME, DON’T INVITE FRIENDS OVER, KEEP A SIX FOOT PERIMETER WHEN YOU GO OUT AND ONLY GO TO THE STORE WHEN YOU MUST. WASH YOUR HANDS, EVEN AT HOME.
For the next two weeks: